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UAE’s Gaming Revolution: Web3 sets the pace, is a $1 Billion Economic Boost coming?

  • The Video Games market in the UAE is projected to grow by 5.40% (2024-2027) [1]
  • Web3 gaming is expected to attract up to 100 million gamers, creating a market worth an estimated $1 billion by 2025[2]

Dubai, UAE – 1st April 2024: In the heart of the Middle East, the UAE is not just keeping pace with the global gaming scene – it’s defining it. With Saudi Arabia and Egypt as fellow visionaries, the UAE is at the forefront of Web3 gaming that’s turning heads worldwide. Undoubtedly the future of gaming, Web3 has positioned the UAE among the top 15 countries interested in it from 2021 to 2023[3], alongside China and Vietnam, according to a study focusing on relative interest in Web3 gaming terminology via Google Trends, highlighting the UAE as one of the key markets in the Web3 industry[4].

Loren Roosendaal, Founder and Chairman of Galactic Entertainment_ssict_1200_1200

Overall, the Middle East is also experiencing a gaming revolution, with projections indicating 88 million gamers by 2026, a significant jump from 67.4 million in 2022[5], and UAE, through Dubai, is leading the charge as it rapidly emerges as a central force in driving the region’s gaming industry forward. This rise is no accident – it is a result of strategic investments that are uplifting its status as a global hub for gaming and esports, attracting top-tier industry players and fueling economic expansion. Additionally, this surge also isn’t just numbers; it is a testament to the passion of visionary creators, the ingenuity of developers, and an ambitious demand from enthusiasts who appreciate the richness of the gaming universe in the region.

The fact is, gaming is no longer merely about tapping screens; it is an immersive journey into intricately crafted worlds, offering players an unparalleled experience. This rise is fueled by none other than the emergence of Web3 technology, along with Play-to-Earn (P2E) and Play-to-Own (P2O) games.

These games are quickly gaining popularity for a compelling reason, as suggested by their very names: players immerse themselves in captivating gameplay with the opportunity to earn real-time rewards and establish ownership over in-game assets, represented as Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs). As mentioned, this global shift has not gone unnoticed in the UAE, which is evident in the increasing demand, the region’s rapid development of Web3 gaming spaces, and the planning that’s happening around it.

Globally, prominent titles such as The Sandbox, Gods Unchained, and Splinterlands have garnered dedicated followings, providing avenues for collecting, trading, and earning tokens on blockchain platforms like Ethereum and Solana. In the UAE, games such as Farcana are popular,  as a high-quality immersive shooter game with a Bitcoin prize pool backed by a stable economic model. The UAE also has high anticipation for upcoming releases such as Galactic Entertainment’s “PlanetQuest,” whose fan engagement goes a step further: fans can own entire planets and in-game items crucial to the upcoming PlanetQuest video game. The response since the announcement has been phenomenal, with the first planet sale attracting over 10,000 applications and pledging a staggering $60 million in just weeks.

Gaming revenues in the Middle East region hit a staggering $1.92 billion in 2023[6], with projections soaring to $3.14 billion by 2025. The UAE’s dynamic gaming landscape, anchored in Dubai, attracts developers from around the world, drawn by a combination of innovation, investment, and an environment ripe for creativity. The DMCC Gaming Centre was also created to cater to this demand and the potential that gaming holds in the region. The centre is now a thriving hub where over 100 gaming companies collaborate and innovate[7]. Leading Dubai’s technological advancement in gaming is His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince, with initiatives like the Dubai Program for Gaming 2033 and investments in metaverse technologies. This program aims to tap into the $200 billion global gaming market, projecting to add over $4 billion to Dubai’s annual GDP and create 27,000 additional jobs by 2030[8].

Loren Roosendaal, Founder and Chairman of Galactic Entertainment, said: “I’m thrilled to witness the UAE diving headfirst into the world of Web3 gaming, riding the blockchain wave and aiming for a billion-dollar market by 2025. Dubai’s energy and strategic location have the potential to elevate the region to one of the top destinations for gaming. Web3 gaming isn’t just a trend; it’s a technological shift, offering secure assets, censorship-free experiences, and seamless trading. It’s about building communities that transcend borders. At Galactic Entertainment, we’re shaping a future where gaming isn’t just a pastime; it’s a lifestyle. We’re grateful that regions such as the UAE have people who share our vision and allow us to create that ecosystem for them.”

In the UAE, this gaming revolution powered by Web3 can very much deliver a significant economic boost, potentially surpassing $1 billion in value in the UAE alone. With initiatives like the Dubai Program for Gaming 2033, the UAE has started to take the lead in regional gaming discussions and is increasingly becoming a significant part of the global dialogue. As the UAE continues to embrace this, it’s laying the foundation for massive economic growth, solidifying its status in the gaming world. 

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